– Check against delivery –
I have the honour to speak on the behalf of the EU and its Member States. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Ukraine and Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.
Before my statement, I would like to convey sincere condolences to the families that lost loved ones in the tragic plane crash outside Tehran yesterday morning.
The EU welcomes Vietnam's choice of topic for today's Open Debate in the Security Council, entering the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Charter by focusing on the very foundation and raison d'être of our cooperation, namely the upholding of the Charter to maintain international peace and security.
For almost three quarters of a century, the UN Charter has not only served as the legal basis of this organisation but also as an enduring symbol of multilateral cooperation and the rules-based international order. Written at the end of the darkest days in the history of mankind, the Charter represented new hope for the peoples of the United Nations.
The United Nations Charter is as relevant and important today as it was when first signed. We live in an interconnected and rapidly changing world, and upholding agreed rules and norms is the only starting point we have for handling increasingly complex challenges.
So let me start out by underlining that the UN Charter – and the multilateral cooperation that it has established - has been a remarkable success. There has been a clear decline in violence and in the type of inter-state conflicts, that the Charter was designed to handle. There is no need to question that multilateralism and international law works. It works for all of us: countries that have military might and economic dominance, and the countries that do not. We all benefit. The Charter serves us all.
At the same time, we must recognise that new types of threats are on the rise: hybrid warfare, foreign interference and violent extremism. And fundamental, global developments – climate change, changing demography and disruptive technology – will keep producing new kinds of challenges to peace and security. We have to continue finding ways to prevent and handle these challenges; developing, strengthening and reforming the multilateral system. Our only point of departure for tackling complex, interconnected, global challenges is multilateral cooperation that binds us all. The United Nations Charter is at the very core of that.
While we live in an era of unprecedented quantity and range of multilateral structures, the multilateral system is also increasingly being challenged. New competition and tensions are undermining the multilateral system. Widely accepted treaties and agreements seem to be put into question. It has been argued that this is the result of a shift of power, and the seemingly powerlessness of multilateralism in the face of modern challenges. That the legitimacy of the multilateral system is vanishing, and that the ideals it represents are out of date.
But let's base our discussion here today on facts. Side-lining the multilateral system and returning to the rules that pre-date the UN Charter would bring us back to a situation that we – not least us Europeans – know all too well: chaos and violence. Because power is not a zero-sum game, and respect for the international, rules-based system, is in everybody's best interests.
The unfolding escalation in the Middle East is an extremely serious case in point. It could jeopardize regional security and strengthen global terrorism. The EU is deeply concerned about the latest increase of violent confrontations in Iraq, and underlines the need for de-escalation and dialogue – and for respecting Iraqi sovereignty. The only way forward is a regional political solution in line with international law. In this context, the EU attaches great importance to preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) and to its full implementation. It is a fundamental element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture and crucial for the security of the region and of the world.
At the same time, in a fractured world, it is essential that all member states allow the UN to play its role as a platform for dialogue. That is the basis for peaceful de-escalation of tensions that can run out of hand and become new armed and deadly conflicts.
The message of the new leadership of the European Union is clear: the EU is, and will continue to be, a guardian of multilateralism, standing up for the rules-based international order, including the protection of human rights, with the United Nations and its Charter at its core. The EU will continue to support the institutions that have served us so well and the rules and norms that have laid the foundation for the progress we have seen and benefitted from over the past 75 years.
To uphold the multilateral system and the respect for the UN Charter is not only in the interest of all member states, it is also the responsibility of all member states. This year's commemoration shall be a unique opportunity to explore how we collectively can build on these achievements to shape the 'Future we want, the UN we need'. The EU and its Members are, and will remain, a key partner in this endeavour, as a cooperative global power voice that consistently puts cooperation over confrontation and multilateralism over isolationism, that sticks to its commitments and willingly helps others stick to theirs.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.